A special air quality statement has been issued for the Grande Prairie – Beaverlodge – Valleyview region. Environment Canada says smoke from a forest fire in northern British Columbia has moved into portions of Alberta and northern Saskatchewan, causing poor air quality and reduced visibility.
“Air quality and visibility due to wildfire smoke can fluctuate over short distances and can vary considerably from hour to hour.”
People are warned they may experience symptoms such as increased coughing, throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath. Children, seniors, and those with cardiovascular or lung disease, such as asthma, are especially at risk.
“People with lung diseases, such as asthma and COPD, can be particularly sensitive to air pollution. They will generally experience more serious health effects at lower levels. Pollution can aggravate their diseases, leading to increased medication use, doctor and emergency room visits, and hospital visits.”
As of 8 p.m., the Air Quality Health Index for Grande Prairie is 6 or moderate, which is expected to increase to 7 or high risk Saturday night.